Improving Soil Moisture Retention

Posted by Eric Lancaster on

Organic Means of Preserving Soil Moisture

Soil water is the lifeblood of your crops. Properly hydrated soil regulates ground temperatures for reliable flowering and seed germination, helps sensitive plants survive the summer months, provides structure, and encourages the growth of crop-friendly organisms. Without proper care, however, soil can lose its water retention; even generous rainfall is lost, quickly sinking into the water table without efficiently benefiting the plants above. Organic farmers and gardeners have two excellent tools at their disposal for reversing these effects.


  • Organic Matter One of the best ways to improve damaged soil is by introducing healthy soil. Organic food waste makes an excellent soil amendment; treat your growing area with several inches of it in trenches or holes in order to create a moisture-retaining surface that will support young roots and nurture the soil below. Water and nutrient-rich food wastes, if diligently replenished, can protect your soil while gradually imparting its growth-encouraging elements.
  • Soil Life Two forms of soil life play a role in your soil’s water retention: macroorganisms and microorganisms. Macroorganisms, such as worms, are large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Their pathways loosen the soil, trapping more water between particles and soil structures. Beneficial microorganisms, however, are even more foundational. Soil-consuming bacteria reduce the size of individual soil particles, increasing soil retention at the soil’s most fundamental level. Worms eat bacteria and bacteria turn nutrients into food for plants. When you add microorganisms you not only feed plants, you also feed worms.
It is always best to employ multiple, complementary approaches when attempting to improve your soil. Organic topsoil amendments leak nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil below, encouraging the growth of your microbial starter culture. Working in tandem, each solution multiplies the success of the other.

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